Apple’s Macintosh launch was one of the best television commercials

Apple’sMacintosh launch was one of the best television commercials duringthe twentieth century. The title reminds the viewer of the dystopiaGeorge Orwell’s novel bearing the similar name. The advertisement,1984brings out the disparity in complexity between print and televisioncommercials. It is stylish, filmic and regardless of its abbreviatedstructure, a great cinematic story comprising references to renownedmovies and cultural allegories and logos. The paper supports theargument that television commercials are more multifaceted thanprint. Television ads are capable of communicating a lot about aproduct without description, like the Macintosh commercial. Employinga brilliant pathos plea, the ad convinces the audience on the need tohave the forthcoming Macintosh computer. Without which, they lackuniqueness and are part of a crowd whose mindset is controlled.


Macintosh1984, directed by Ridley Scott is a sixty seconds commercial, whoseplot resembles that of the novel 1984. The ad begins with a depictionof the figure 1984 on the screen. Scott then introduces a long shotof unclearly recognizable figures moving via a tunnel, mergingmassive systems. After is another long shot of marching charactersdressed in dull uniform and shaven heads. This is followed by a closeup shot of the heavy boots they wear. There is an instant view of ablond female wearing red shorts and a white jersey, running. Thefemale character is just visible for a short time. The following cutdemonstrates the figures once more then a shot of the female beingchased by troopers. The ad cuts back and forth amid the blonde womanand the troopers chasing her. The viewer sees a different long shotof the institution’s inmates sited in a big room. They are gazingat an enormous television set. A character dressed in glasses talksto the inmates, who listen attentively. The character communicates tothe inmates on their freedom and unity. Unexpectedly, the blondefemale appears in the room and throws the hammer smashing thetelevision. This result in an enormous explosion, which creates animage similar to that generated from an atomic bomb. The inmatesstare, surprised with open mouths, towards the screen. Later, amessage from Apple Computers pops up informing viewers of theintroduction of the Macintosh.


Appleintends to be viewed as the symbol of uniqueness, through appeal toan individual’s desire to be exceptional, which is a pathos appeal.Pathos appeal regards to emotional appeal, which is made effective bythe strong images apparent in the advertisement. People do not desireto become part of a crowd, nor be regulated, which is precisely whatthe consumer is if they fail to purchase Apple’s Macintosh. Thecommercial concentrates on individuals that desire to be unique,making them feel that the manner to be exceptional is throughpurchase of the upcoming Macintosh (Stein 176). For the persons lessconcerned about being unique, the commercial criticizes them throughreferring to them as illogical followers of the major companies.“After the explosion the commercial cuts to a scene where theinmates are shown openmouthed, staring at what happened. They areemotionless and display no affect other than shock” (Berger 177).The quote demonstrates the extreme to which people have beenbrainwashed by major companies, to progressively use their productswithout questioning the need to be extraordinary. Apple employspathos appeal to depict how the company intends to portray itself inits endeavors. It depicts itself as exceptional, thus better comparedto the rest.

Thetelevision commercial’s triumphant appeal to emotion isattributable to its powerful images, which makes it more complex thanprint commercials. However, the images would not be effective withoutthe language employed in the advertisement (O`Grady 73). BigBrother’s speaks about compliance, which fits well over themarching characters. It also differs intensely with the girl’simage running with a hammer. Big Brother informs the inmates thattheir unification of thoughts is greater a weapon compared to anyarmy on earth, that they are one, sharing the similar will,determination and cause. He criticizes their enemies noting that theyshall be defeated and buried. As soon as the speech is over and thewoman hurls the hammer to the screen, the following statement appears“on January 24th, Apple Computers will introduce Macintosh and youwill see why 1984 will not be like 1984” (Berger 177). Bigbrother’s speech, when superimposed by the images of the mindlessdrones, depicts the globe as being regulated by an all-powerfulruler. It depicts the feeling of lack of control over individualactions, making the audience relate to one of the charactersconditioned by Big Brother (Berger 39). The blonde woman suppressesBig Brother and the difference between 1984 and 1984is portrayed on the screen. It is the only period all through the adthat the product is cited. Through the single mention of the product,it makes it appear as though the Macintosh is responsible fordefeating Big Brother (Berger 39). This appeals to the viewer more,as they desire to have the Macintosh computer. Big Brother’s speechis a recollection of the conformity depicted, and when it concludes,it is replaced through words on the promise of a different future,which is the Macintosh world.

Throughthe application of allusions to 1984,the commercial’s setting is given profundity, which is usuallyunachievable in print commercials. Apple’s 1984 is an allusion tothe dystopian country of Oceania, which was administered by anoppressive totalitarian administration (Stein 182). “The title ofthe commercial brings to mind George Orwell’s novel 1984,and the text is based on the idea of totalitarian or dystopias”(Berger 171). The dictator in the commercial represents Big Brother’scharacter in George Orwell’s novel. The dictator represents Apple’scompetitors, in specific IBM. The crowds brainwashed by the dictatorare consumers, unquestionably being regulated by the major companies.They dress in grey jumpsuits, lack-differentiating aspects toalienate one from the other, their heads are shaved and their gendersare left uncertain. The female hurling a hammer is representative ofthe protagonist in 1984.In the commercial, she represents Apple, the agent that saves thecrowds from the dictatorial tyrant of Big Brother, or IBM.


TheMacintosh ad progresses to be one of the most influential televisioncommercials. It borrows from the novel, 1984andits setting to create a successful advertisement. Allusions to 1984have also been effective in enhancing the intended message of the adto viewers. The ad appeals to the emotions of the audience byinforming them of the suppressive administration they live, in thecase of technology, IBM. Thus, introducing them to the newtechnology, this is the Macintosh computer. Influential images andlanguage charm the viewer vividly weaving characters like Big Brotherto the commercial on personal computers.


Berger,Arthur A. Ads,Fads, and Consumer Culture: Advertising`s Impact on American Character and Society.Lanham: Rowman &amp Littlefield, 2011. Internet resource.

Berger,Arthur A. Television in Society. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers,1987.

O`Grady,Jason D. AppleInc.Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2009. Print.

Stein,Sarah R. The ‘1984’ Macintosh Ad: Cinematic Icons andConstitutive Rhetoric in the Launch of a New Machine. QuarterlyJournal of Speech88.2 (2002): 169-192.